What: All Issues : Government Checks on Corporate Power : Banks/Credit Card Companies : S. 256. Bankruptcy/Vote on Amendment to Republican-Sponsored Bill to Alter Federal Bankruptcy Rules to Require Bankruptcy Judges to Take Circumstances into Account When a Credit Card Company Has Issued Too Many Credit Cards to an Individual Who is Under 21 and Who is Employed Below the Poverty Level.
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S. 256. Bankruptcy/Vote on Amendment to Republican-Sponsored Bill to Alter Federal Bankruptcy Rules to Require Bankruptcy Judges to Take Circumstances into Account When a Credit Card Company Has Issued Too Many Credit Cards to an Individual Who is Under 21 and Who is Employed Below the Poverty Level.
senate Roll Call 33     Mar 09, 2005
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

In this vote, the Senate defeated an amendment offered by Barbara Boxer (D-CA) to S. 256 that would have required bankruptcy judges to take circumstances into account when a credit card company has issued a non-cosigned seventh credit card to an individual who is under 21 years of age and who is employed below the poverty level. S. 256 was a Republican-sponsored bill to alter federal bankruptcy rules. Making the Progressive argument, Boxer argued that this amendment would fairly allocate to credit card companies some responsibility for young people's defaults on their credit card debts, as the credit card company in such cases could and should have asked them how many credit cards they already had and what their incomes were. Republicans countered that this amendment would unfairly restrict credit for all young adults, regardless of history, and noted "that 18-year-olds can serve in the military, get married, vote, and in most States serve on juries, all without a cosigner." (Orrin Hatch (R-UT).) They further argued that consumer protections already in the bill would address the problems targeted by this amendment, and that the bill would set up a study of the issue of credit card debt and college students. Boxer's amendment was one of a series offered by Progressives to limit the bill's scope because overall, they viewed S. 256 as benefiting large corporations, such as credit card companies, at the expense of middle and lower-class Americans. They maintained that S. 256 would actually require individuals who deserve full protection in bankruptcy to overcome additional barriers to getting out of debt, like higher attorneys' fees and more paperwork. Republicans countered that the bill would curb abuses of the bankruptcy system by making it harder for those who could pay their debts to escape them. In addition, Republicans were anxious to keep the bill "clean," meaning free from most amendments, because the House had already indicated it would not accept a bankruptcy bill laden with amendment language. Progressives' loss in this amendment by a vote of 40 to 60 kept specific partial credit card company responsibility for the debt of young people out of the bill. This vote was one of numerous losses in Progressives' attempts to tilt the balance of S. 256 more toward consumers and away from credit card companies and other creditors.

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